Mission: “Maintain our leadership in the marketing and distribution of agricultural and hardware products, construction materials and horticultural products and to provide continuous advantages to our members and clients”.

Hardware and building materials department
The goals of the Hardware and Building Materials Department may be summarized by the 5Gs : Good products, Good prices, Good margins, Great Service, Great stores. Our first priority is the client, to provide better services to the retailer but also to the end-consumer.

The nerve centre of the Hardware and Building Materials Department is located in Trois-Rivières. It services almost 160 hardware stores and renovation centres under the CO-OP banner. To this, we add over one hundred more clients under various other banners. The client base spans the whole of Quebec, New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario. The target market is located mostly in rural and semi-urban areas, although some merchants are located in areas with large populations.

Over 25,000 products are available to retailers. Product categories vary widely; farm accessories, paint and decoration items, pet food, electricity, plumbing, maple grove accessories, tools, hardware, horticultural products, seasonal products and construction materials are all products offered in our catalogue.

The Hardware and Building Materials Department employs more than 170 people to provide services to its merchants. The Operating Centre located in Trois-Rivières benefits from the most modern of infrastructures, such as a 130,000 square feet hardware distribution centre and another just for construction materials of about 28,000 square feet. The land on which these buildings were constructed totals 200,000 square feet and also provides outside storage for materials.

With a 95% delivery rate and average inventory of nearly $10 million, the Department offers a minimum of one delivery per customer, per week. Over 1,100 private label products are available to its clientele, either under the CO-OP, Fédécor, Plus-Vert, Célébrité and Shopmaster brands. The Department also benefits from an impressive buying power thanks to its association with pan-Canadian and North American buying conglomerates, such as Mutual Hardware, Evergreen Construction Materials, Octo Groupe d’achats, Interprovincial Cooperative (IPCO) and Universal Cooperatives, among others.

Two large trade shows are organized every year to facilitate the merchants’ job of selecting products and take advantage of great discounts. The Coopérama, held in November, provides space for more than 190 kiosks for spring and summer products. The April CO-OP show, with over 650 kiosks, offers products for the fall and winter seasons.

In this era of B2B (Business to Business), the Department developed a computer platform called InfoTel to communicate with its clientele. The software, implemented in 1996, is the second generation of its kind and is installed throughout the CO-OP network. This software includes programs used for order-taking, merchant customized price management, direct access to stocks available from the warehouse, access to warrantee policies, returns processing, invoice transfers, price updates, etc. All of these hardware and building materials operations are possible through the Internet.

The Department provides its CO-OP merchants with various marketing tools. Over 450,000 copies of its flyer are distributed at a rate of twenty-one times per year. The flyer combines hardware, construction materials, and horticultural products depending on the season. The Éco-culteur flyer, issued six times annually and including a complete guide to farm products, targets farmers directly. A guide to maple grove products is also available annually. The Web site www.cfqtr.qc.ca also provides an additional promotional tool for the CO-OP network.

The Department invests, in collaboration with the members of the CO-OP network, large sums in the renovation and layout of its sales areas. The development of a store concept, standard presentation guidelines for both inside and outside of each store, as well as signage for all CO-OP outlets within the network reinforce the banner’s image to its clients and members. The development of planograms, which are used to manage shelf space and product categories, greatly facilitate store layouts. These planograms, completely computer generated, are adapted to the different size stores and are available on CD-ROM.

With sustained growth, the Hardware and Building Materials Department intends to improve, on a continuous basis, the availability, the competitiveness of its offering and the quality of its services. Teamwork and rigorous cost management ensure the development of this sector. Continuous improvement is achieved through the development of competent human resources, accountability and respect at all levels.

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